Even though we’re all Americans, State Rights are not the same everywhere when it comes to taxation
Folks who have read the Wall Street Journal article are asking if they can achieve similar results in their jurisdictions – effectively what they can do if their assessments are not uniform, such as the case in Nevada. The answer is not as simple as one might think.
The legal literature in Nevada suggests there was a lack of compliance with that state’s Administrative Procedures Act, which was very specific about the authority of the property appraiser to use specific methodology. It was a relatively simple matter to demonstrate, and was rather clear cut. Effectively, it appears the courts – up and down the ladder – addressed the lack of compliance, and that’s how the taxpayers prevailed – although there are other concerns and they are not finished yet.
All the states have different laws governing what can be taxed, by whom, and how. In Florida, there is an Administrative Procedures Act in Chapter 120, and 120. 52(8) has been upheld in litigation, there are different standards applicable to local officials. Even if there are violations of state law, especially in due process provisions, there are no enforcement mechanisms.
Some states apply only a small percentage to property tax assessments, while others require 100% of taxable values. Some states tax tangible personal property, but may exempt residential personal property. Some states may include intangibles in local assessments, while other states intentionally remove intangibles from local taxation. And in some states, there are local standards governing appeals, while in other jurisdictions state laws create the appeal standards for everyone.
What works in Florida may not work in New York, or Ohio, or California. That’s the result of the federal law and case law that requires each state to provide due process and the laws applicable to each taxpayer.
And then come questions about the amounts of taxation. Various taxes in various places may be based upon different rates. But, there appears to be one constant and that’s budgets.
Taxpayers who object to how much they are being taxed – a different matter than how much they are assessed – need to research the budget process in their jurisdiction, and find out who is approving expenses that might not be appropriate. AND, remember those decision makers when you vote.